Monday, January 04, 2010

Chuck vs. the season 2 DVD

"Chuck" comes back on Sunday night (I gave a few early thoughts on the new episodes last month), which means purchasers of the "Chuck: The Complete Second Season" DVD set (which hits stores and places like Amazon tomorrow) will only have a few days to dive through the 22 episodes to get up to speed for the new batch. (In fairness to Warner Bros., the release date was set back when everyone assumed season three wouldn't begin until March, and I don't know how easy it is to change course at the last minute.)

After the jump, a few thoughts on the DVD set, and if you're interested in a chance to meet the cast and/or help out a real good cause, go check out the We Heart Chuck site for details, ASAP...

My review copy was one of the limited-edition ones, which includes the 3-D version of "Chuck vs. the Third Dimension" as well as two pairs of 3-D glasses so that you and your special lady or gentleman friend can watch it together. Having just seen "Avatar," it's hard to be as impressed by effects like a knife flying at the screen or Big Mike's donut moving towards his mouth, but the episode itself remains fun.

And that's my sum feeling about the set in general. The special features are interesting to varying degrees, but the real draw is 22 episodes of one of the most purely fun seasons of TV I've ever had the pleasure to watch and review.

As to the other features, my favorite was probably "Dude in Distress," a breakdown of how they put together the show's stunts (with an extended look at Sarah and Nicole Richie's shower smackdown in "Chuck vs. the Cougars"), but there are also deleted scenes from most episodes (nothing plot-heavy from what I saw; mostly it's jokes that got cut for time), the webisodes about the Buy More staff that ran early last year, a funny gag reel (if you like that sort of thing; if nothing else, it's a rare opportunity to see the usually serious Yvonne Strahovski smiling and laughing), a more general behind-the-scenes featurette, and a couple of funny sequences where Captain Awesome and Casey separately offer tips on how to deal with everyday problems like job interviewing, first dates and going to your high school reunion.

But, again, I was much happier to just have a permanent copy of episodes like "Chuck vs. the Santa Claus" or "Chuck vs. the Colonel" than I was to play with the bonus features. This is going to become one of my go-to DVD sets whenever I'm having a sick day. (Which I'm hoping today doesn't turn into.)

29 comments:

LoopyChew said...

I caved in and bought the R2s a couple of weeks ago and have had a blast with them. Unfortunately there was no limited-edition 3D version, so pity about that, but since typically my DVDs get ripped and stored on my media server, that's all right by me (it'd be a pain to have to fetch the 3D glasses each time).

Maybe it's my overly-sensitive ears at work here, but I'm reasonably sure the R2s run ever-so-slightly faster than the broadcast episodes I've perused so thoroughly. This is most evident from the music, which is one half-tone up from what they would've been either in-show or on whatever CD they happen to come from. Are they like that on the R1s?

Regardless, this DVD set has given me the great pleasure of being able to rewatch the "Best Friend" car fight scene over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. That is One Awesome Fight.

rukrusher said...

I hooked my wife on Chuck with Season 1 DVD for Christmas, I think she might be able to get through all 22 episodes of Season 2 if she puts her mind to it.

Jesse said...

Maybe it's my overly-sensitive ears at work here, but I'm reasonably sure the R2s run ever-so-slightly faster than the broadcast episodes I've perused so thoroughly. This is most evident from the music, which is one half-tone up from what they would've been either in-show or on whatever CD they happen to come from. Are they like that on the R1s?

Nope. It's something called "PAL speedup" and it comes from the fact that European DVDs run at 25fps, compared to 24fps for the US. It's not much, but as you found out, it's noticeable. Unfortunately, most DVD players can't correct it.

For those with Blu-ray, it's no longer a problem, however. And since (a) players are getting cheaper (~$100) and (b) both "Chuck" seasons are on Blu-ray, it's a good time to jump in. Of course, I'm also a home theater geek, so I'm biased.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Thanks Alan for this glowing review! I got derailed on Chuck mid-season #2 (DVR issues, etc) and was not sure how I would ever catch up. I am fairly motivated NOW to get caught up on the 12 or so episodes I have missed.

Chris said...

Alan,

I was wondering if you revisit shows when they become available on DVD (I presume you get sent a lot for review purposes)and whether the experience of watching the episodes in chunks on DVD changes your opinions on the show.

For example: for Christmas, I got season 3 of 30 Rock. Watching them in chunks, I feel like the season plays a lot better and doesn't feel nearly as wheel-spinning or spotty as it felt during its initial run as it was broadcast.

I'm looking forward to picking up the DVD of Chuck, season 2.

I find it strange that I'm having such a hard time convincing people it's a good show. Is it the advertising or what that seems to be prejudicing people?

skittledog said...

My R2 dvds came with one pair of 3D specs (back in November when the dvds were released here - still amused about that), but I didn't have a chance to try the episode out in 3D before sending the boxset off to a friend I am converting to the show (mostly because I made time for a rewatch of Chuck vs The Colonel and vs The Ring instead).

Definitely one of those shows you need to own on dvd just so you can chuck (hah) it in the player whenever you're having a bad day. And, of course, so you can convert other people. :)

Linda said...

In the Season 2 DVD set, are the special features on one disk or multiple disks? If I wanted to see the special features, which disks should I rent from Netflix?

Thanks.

Emily N. said...

I placed an order with Amazon a couple days ago so I expect to get the DVD soon. I've already seen all of season 2 (some episodes multiple times) so if I don't get a chance to re-watch all 22 episodes before the premiere on Sunday, it's no big deal.

My mother became a fan of Chuck after I lent her my season 1 DVD. However, she has already told me she has no intention of watching all of season 2 in such a short time frame. I might just suggest she watch the last few episodes of season 2 to prepare for season 3. It's certainly not ideal, but given the situation, I'm just glad she's willing to jump into season 3 regardless of if she saw season 2 or not.

Oh, and I am a bit disappointed that the DVD bonus features don't include any episode commentaries. I know most people probably wouldn't listen to them, but they are often very insightful and funny. For example, I recently re-watched The Office season 2 on DVD and those commentaries really added to my appreciation of an already fantastic season of television.

Alan Sepinwall said...

In the Season 2 DVD set, are the special features on one disk or multiple disks?

Most of them are on the last disc, but the deleted scenes are on whatever disc their respective episodes are on, and I think one of the other features may be on an earlier disc, too.

Pamela Jaye said...

no commentaries?
darn.
I often find myself having to choose whether i want to see eps in order, or watch an ep twice for with/without commetary, but still...

Wonder if Men of a Certain Age will have commentary.

Mike F said...

Here's the question...

Can I just start watching season 3 without catching up on the other seasons? Or is there too much "mythology"...if so, can I just watch season 2? or do I have to go all the way back to season one?

appreciate all expert opinions on this matter...as I watched the first couple episodes of season one, was underwhelmed and gave up on the series

seeing the highest of praises here leads me to want to re-visit...but not sure I'm up to a full series viewing especially if you guys don't think its necessary

M said...

@Mike F-- You don't need to watch season 1 and you don't even need to watch season 2, although you might want to for some backstory/it's really, really awesome. The mythology is pretty simple (and will probably be recapped at the start of the season), though, so you should be fine jumping right into season 3 if you don't feel like watching the DVDs.

Eileen said...

Mike F - I also watched the first few episodes of Season 1 and gave up after getting bored. I watched Season 2 after hearing all the rave reviews and I definitely recommend it, it's greatly improved. You don't need to watch Season 1 to understand the mythology, especially since you've already seen the first couple of episodes. Just enjoy Season 2!

Steve said...

For those looking to catch up on previous seasons of Chuck before the S3 premiere, SyFy is showing an 8 hour marathon this Thursday from 5PM-1AM Eastern. The episodes, all from S2, are as follows:

2-1 First Date
2-2 Seduction
2-3 Breakup
2-11 Santa Claus
2-17 Predator
2-19 Dream Job
2-21 Colonel
2-22 The Ring

This should provide a good jumping in point for non-Chuck watchers, fans looking to refresh their memories, or just fans of great television.

Also, if you're looking all the way back to S1, I would recommend the following for a good mix of mythology, Chuck and Sarah moments, family moments, and Buy More hilarity:

1-1 Intersect
1-7 Alma Mater
1-10 Nemesis
1-13 The Marlin

Angela said...

Steve, Thanks for the heads up! I haven't watched Chuck yet, and this will be a great way to see what I've been missing.

Anonymous said...

but does the season 2 set have a non 3d version of the episode for people who have no interest in 3d

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yes. Every set has the non-3D version. Only some sets have the 3D version.

VisionOn said...

So Alan what is the deal with the 3-D release?

I preordered my Blu-ray copy from Amazon expecting to receive a 3-D version and only got the standard version.

This seems to contradict the WB press release from October that said:

"For a limited time, the DVD and Blu-ray releases of Chuck: The Complete Second Season will also include the never-to-be-aired-again 3-D version of the episode "Chuck Versus the Third Dimension" plus two pairs of 3-D glasses."

Is there any retailer that is definitely selling the 3-D edition? That's the one I want and so far all the online sites seem non-specific about this.

Anonymous said...

Damn the price for the blu-ray is highway robbery

dez said...

Ooh, I'd love to go to that screening, but I haaaate going to the HOB on Sunset. Plus I can't afford the tournament fee, so there's that (I could afford the screening fee, but then there's parking fees, and the hassle of getting there, and dealing with the HOB bouncers who are generally fools, and knowing the cast is around and I can't meet them because I didn't pony up for the meet & greet, and further whines). :-) Damn!

At least I'll be able to watch it on my new plasma TV. Wheee!

Vlada said...

Having just seen "Avatar," it's hard to be as impressed by effects like a knife flying at the screen or Big Mike's donut moving towards his mouth, but the episode itself remains fun.

Unless you watch it on a real 3D TV. At LATV Fest back in July, there were some fancy 3D televisions from Japan on display. They were showing all sorts of stuff, including the Chuck 3D episode. When I put on the glasses, I was floored. I felt like I was in the show.

Anonymous said...

VionionOn, here's some info on the 3-D release: http://www.cheapassgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6700475

VisionOn said...

It appears the only place to find Chuck 3D version is Best Buy. No other place seems to have the 3D edition despite what Warner Video announced back in October.

Warner really screwed up the marketing of the 3D edition. It was poorly promoted, badly distributed and confusingly packaged - looking almost exactly the same as the standard version with the exception of brand logos on the back cover.

Craig Ranapia said...

no commentaries?
darn.
I often find myself having to choose whether i want to see eps in order, or watch an ep twice for with/without commetary, but still...


To be honest, I have a lot of sympathy with Quentin Tarantino who says he'd never do a commentary track for one of his movies because... well, he wants to watch the damn film without some fool yammering away in his ear. (I know - go figure.) And it's mildly surprising how often people don't really have anything particularly interesting, let alone insightful, to say about their own work.

filmcricket said...

I'm sorry about the lack of commentaries, too. Sometimes they're kinda useless (like Tim O. and Ian McS. on the "Deadwood" ones) but a lot of the time they're hilarious. The commentary track for "Tropic Thunder" was 10 times funnier than the film itself, and even if you hate the movie, do yourself a favour and watch "Love Actually" with the commentary, just to hear Hugh Grant being a complete b*tch about Colin Firth. It's hysterical.

Ahem. Sorry for the tangent, Alan. Very, very excited to get these DVDs, with or without the 3D episode.

Matthew L said...

It appears the only place to find Chuck 3D version is Best Buy. No other place seems to have the 3D edition despite what Warner Video announced back in October.

That's not good. I pre-ordered the season because of the announcement thst the 3D version would only be available for a limited time. And, because I live in NZ, I don't really have any other option - I can't exactly go down to the stores to hunt around, and I doubt when/if NZ gets the Blu-Ray it will have the 3D on it.

Anonymous said...

i bought chuck season 2 "limited edition" on dvd yesterday from best buy. i watched and was disappointed that, even with the two 3d glasses provided and the sticker on the package indicating that the 3d episode was included, the episode of chuck vs the third dimension was NOT in 3d... so i don't know what's going on here.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The 3D version is on the last disc with all the other bonus features.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I recently bought Chuck Season 2 on Blu-ray, but I'm wondering, is there no disk menu to select what episode you want to watch? All of the disks I have take me right to the deleted scenes menu so I have to fast forward if I want to watch a specific episode later on in the disk. Does anyone else have that problem? I guess it's not a big deal, but it just sucks having to skip through 3 hours worth of episodes just to get to the last one.